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The Almost-all-volunteer Military

Calling up troops to involuntary duty through the Individual Ready Reserve came to the fore in June 2004, when 5,600 former soldiers were called up fo

Calling up troops to involuntary duty through the Individual Ready Reserve came to the fore in June 2004, when 5,600 former soldiers were called up for year-long tours, mostly assignments in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was not, however, a one-time deal.

President Bush has authorized the U.S. Marine Corps to recall 2,500 troops to active duty because there are not enough volunteers returning for duty in Afghanistan and Iraq, Marine commanders announced Tuesday. […]

Marine Col. Guy A. Stratton, head of the manpower mobilization section, told The Associated Press that there is a shortfall of about 1,200 Marines needed to fill positions in upcoming unit deployments.

"Since this is going to be a long war, we thought it was judicious and prudent at this time to be able to use a relatively small portion of those Marines to help us augment our units," Stratton said, according to the AP.

Keep in mind, this service, which could last up to 18 months, is involuntary, but it's not necessarily a back-door draft. The IRR includes troops who have already received honorable discharges, but have not yet fulfilled eight years of active duty. They served their four years, but are "on call" for four more. Now, that call is coming through.

That said, one veterans' group leader said the IRR call-up is "one of the last steps before resorting to a draft." Another added, ""You can send Marines back for a third or fourth time, but you have to understand you are destroying their lives."

-- Guest Post by Steve Benen, The Carpetbagger Report

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